How to Buy Art at Art Galleries?

How to Buy Art at Art Galleries?

Several dozen galleries can be found in each of the major cities around the world; some cosmopolitan centers, like New York or London, may even have hundreds of galleries. With dozens of dealer and galleries, exhibiting artworks of different qualities and styles, selecting and buying a piece can be a daunting ordeal. Our editors have selected a few issues to consider at the time you are evaluating a purchase at an art fair.


The quality of artworks at art galleries and dealers varies tremendously. While certain galleries curate the exhibitions and select their artists with care, a large number of exhibitions may or may not be of any significant quality.


Art galleries face tremendous operating costs – gallery rent, staff, advertising and marketing, and transportation of artworks, which put significant economic pressures on the small businesses. With very limited exhibition spaces – generally the wall space of the gallery and / or the area of the gallery, most galleries and dealers are required to sell a significant number of pieces to be profitable.


Like other small or medium businesses, a large proportion of galleries close every year and most have a brief track record.

The following suggestions may assist you in making art buying decisions:

- Ask for a biography of the artist and prior sale prices (if possible)
- Ask for a brief history of the gallery – including press coverage, list of artists, etc.
- Find out what payment methods they accept.
- Research to see if the artwork is reasonably priced and the alternatives that may be available.
- See if the artworks come with a money-back return guarantee.
- Confirm whether you will receive an Invoice (which you may need for your insurance purposes) or Certificate of Authenticity.
- Take your time before rushing to a decision. It is your money and you should consider whether this is the artwork that you wish to see on your wall, day after day.


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